Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Art in the movies: American hustle

Two guys in bad clothes and worse hair, what can they be looking at? In a rare philosophic moment during the scam pic American Hustle the two con men muse over Rembrandt’s Saint Bartholomew. Can a fake be so well done that it becomes more important than the original? Um… that’s a no.

Not to spoil the movie but this scene is not prep for an art heist but a brief sequence shot in the Worcester Art Museum, the owner of the original painting. Oddly this painting was in fact stolen in 1972 along with works by Picasso and Gauguin. It was recovered from its hiding place on a pig farm (minus its original frame that was chucked into the river according to the museum’s web site). 

Art plays another small part at the end of American Hustle. After a seedy life as confidence tricksters the two lead characters start an art gallery as the next obvious thing to do. As they put it, “we went art gallery legitimate”

Images: top, Irving (Christian Bale) and Ritchie (Bradley Cooper) check out the Rembrandt and bottom, big smiles for the loot recovered from the Worcester Art Museum job.